Saturday, November 19, 2016

4 Goals of Socialization

Tracy Spinrad who is an associate professor at the school of social and family dynamics at Arizona State University discovered four goals of socialization.  They are: self-regulation, a sense of self, motivation and cultural beliefs and morality. I discussed self-regulation on a previous post but to remind everyone self-regulation is the ability to control ones behavior and adapt to situations; it's the ability to follow society's expectations for behavior. The ability to self-regulate is an aspect of socialization that occurs when children begin to adjust to parent's rules and expectations of conduct from external to internal control. To develop control from external to internal control is a critical part of socialization. It's important because children need to learn how not to blame their actions on external things. For example if a sibling sat where they wanted to sit a child's understanding of the situation is that it's the siblings fault they're upset and cant' sit where they wanted. Around age eight a child can start to understand they're responsible for their behavior. Therefore, when a sibling sits where they were going to, they can choose to sit somewhere else and know they're fine and therefore learn to internalize the choice to sit somewhere else instead of getting upset because a sibling sat where they were going to.

Another goal of socialization is a sense of self. A sense of self is and individuals belief and understanding about who they are. It's around age eight or nine children begin to describe themselves in terms of personality traits. For example, they say, "I like to paint; I'm good at watering the garden etc."  A parent's role in promoting a sense of self is to encourage children to try new things and establish concrete, complex goals. The goals should be challenging but not out of reach. For example, it's not realistic or practical  for a two year old to be able to put snow clothes on by themselves. Instead of a parent telling a child to do it themselves, the parent needs to help them and teach them how to put their snow clothes on so that when they turn five they know how to do it themselves because at the age of five putting snow clothes on without help is a realistic and practical task.

Motivation is the effort that calls for an individual action. For example, if a child wants to learn how to ice skate they're motivated to achieve how to learn to ice skate. The motives of why a child achieves certain goals and not others varies between individuals. For example, a child may be motivated  to learn to sew because they just want to be able to do the basics of sewing such as sew on a button. Another child may want to learn to sew because they want to make all of their clothes. Cultural beliefs are a part of socialization because they cultural beliefs can determine what is considered morally appropriate behavior. For example, a parent may burp at the table and never say "excuse me." The parent has taught the behavior of burping at the table and never excusing oneself, to their children as being acceptable.

The last goal of socialization is morality. Morality has three aspects to it which we'll discuss next time. However, morality is a goal of socialization as children learn to either live their lives according the moral code they are taught by their parents, religion or they develop one of their own.

These four goals of socialization are universal and all children achieve them on some level of another.

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